The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) has announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has begun visiting collision centers in the area as part of its National Emphasis Program on Occupational Exposure to Isocyanates.
According to the association, collision repair facilities can expect to see increased levels of inspections throughout 2014. GCIA offers some recommendations for shops prior to inspection:
- Supplied Air Systems are the most effective respiratory protection for reduction of isocyanate exposure. Next effective are the PAPR (purifying air). If the painters have access to the supplied or fresh air systems, they should always use that option while in the booth.
- Dual cartridge/half-mask respirators are the least effective means of protection against isocyanates. If these are the respirators in use, the documentation should reflect accurate change-out schedules.
- All Respiratory Protection Program documentation should be in order (fit tests, medical evaluations, etc.)
- Housekeeping is crucial as the inspector could possibly swipe test areas of the shop.
- Improve ventilation in the mixing rooms by keeping the pickup vents as clear as possible. If ventilation is questionable, have the painters wear respirators while mixing.
- Painters should be fully covered, and some prep area employees should be wearing gloves and eye protection as well.
- Paint suits should be changed once a breach (tear or paint in the suit) has occurred.
- Do not wear paint suits, etc., in the break area, and keep food only in break rooms.
- Make sure documentation is available for all booths (closed systems).
- Paint and other chemicals should be kept closed at all times when not in use.
- Paint may not be the only chemical that contains isocyanates.
GCIA is asking that shops that undergo an inspection contact Howard Batchelor.